The Association of Retired Conservationists was organized by a group of retirees from the Wisconsin Conservation Department in the 1960's. By the mid-1970's, the WCD had been combined with the Department of Resource Development to form the Department of Natural Resources, and the retirees group had grown significantly, met monthly for lunch and began inviting speakers to address the group on issues of interest to the members. Today, the organization has more than two hundred members.

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What's New in 2022?

Member SinceNameYears of ServiceDiv/Bureau
January 2022Jeff Pagels30Grants
January 2022Todd Peterson24Wildlife Mgmt
May 2022John Komassa31Fisheries
May 2022Jim Amrhein34Water Mgmt

May 2022

John Komassa  became a Technician at the Kettle Moraine Hatchery 1992 and a Hatchery Supervisor at Nevin in 1998. He was an Operation coordinator in Eagle, WI from 2005 – 2012. John then became a Hatchery Group Leader at SC office in Fitchburg from 2012 – 2021. He likes fishing, hiking, biking, magnet fishing and metal detecting. 

May 2022

Jim Amrhein retired on April 1, 2022 after a career of 34 years with WDNR. Jim started his career in Fisheries Management and moved into the Fish Contaminant Program in 1990 where he stayed until 2001. He then became the Water Quality Biologist for the Southern Region, station at Nevin.

Bob Lindmeire

Bob Lindmeier, Senior Chief Meteorologist at WKOW-TV, Madison, gave a very informative and educational presentation regarding climate change at our March meeting. Click the photo above to watch the presentation. Learn how climate change is already affecting Wisconsin and how you can become involved as part of the solution.

Go here too for more information . . .

January 2022

Todd Peterson received a B.S. in Wildlife from UW-Madison and a M.S. in Wildlife from the University of Minnesota. Todd's first job with WDNR was ripping out interior fences on newly acquired land in St. Croix County. He worked in Wildlife Management for about 24 years in a variety of positions specializing in land use. As a Section Chief, Todd supervised the Wildlife Health, Animal Damage, Urban Wildlife, and Private Lands Programs. He promulgated administrative rules and was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel extensively and be detailed to Washington, D.C., to work on agricultural policy with Congress and Administrations.

Our Special guest speaker for the February Zoom meeting was retired WDNR wildlife biologist Adrian Wydeven. Learn about the wolves annual life cycle and the biological and social management challenges. Click the photo above to watch his very informative, and comprehensive, report on Wisconsin's wolf management.



Go here to learn more about SWIB.

Higgs, Charles Edward

Charlie passed away peacefully, at home, surrounded by his loved ones.

Charlie was born March 1 1940 in Eads TN to Othal and Nina Higgs. He graduated from Elston Senior High School, Michigan City, IN in 1958.

Charlie married his high school sweetheart Ann K Jarvis on June 12, 1959 in Michigan City IN and they celebrated their 60 year anniversary with family and friends in 2019.

Charlie and Ann welcomed 3 daughters to their loving family; Susan, Linda and Beth.

He was awarded a full scholarship for basketball to the University of Michigan. This allowed him to obtain a degree in his chosen field of Forestry. He started his 36 year career with the WI Dept of Natural Resources in 1962 culminating with his final position of WI State Forester from 1990-1998. During his career, he and Ann were very fortunate to be able to travel the country and meet many friends that shared his love of nature and the outdoors.

After retirement, Charlie and Ann moved to Colorado. He was a member of the Loveland Fishing Club where he loved recruiting new members. He was honored to receive the 2019 Toughest Angler award in acknowledgment of his fortitude and great attitude during his long battle with cancer. He was awarded the 2021 Colorado Master Angler of the Year award for a 34 inch channel cat he caught with a night crawler on 6 pound test line.

Charlie was a member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Fort Collins. The family wishes to thank the Pastors and church members for their loving support.

He was preceded in death by his wife Ann in 2020, his parents, 2 brothers; Joe and Richard and other extended family members.

Charlie is survived by his daughters,Susan Higgs, Linda and Joe Moran, Beth Higgs and Ed Hawkins. Grandchildren, Meghan (Brody) and Danielle, Erin (Wesley) and Tyler. Brothers Cecil Higgs (Jutta) and Jim and Janet Higgs and extended family and friends.

National Cremation

Ross, Thomas A.

Thomas A. Ross passed away peacefully January 9th, 2022, with his wife at his side.

He was born in Rhinelander, WI to Angeline Elizabeth Bertha Anderson Gilley and Frank Thomas Gilley. He was later adopted by his stepfather, Donald Ross.

Tom graduated from Rhinelander High School in 1964 and from DeVry Tech of Chicago with a degree in Radio & TV Repair. He earned his FCC First Class Radiotelegraph License, then enlisted in the Army Signal Corps serving an MP post near the Korean DMZ.

He is survived by his wife, Jolene; daughters: Kristi (Brian Clausen) Ross-Clausen of Appleton and Ruth (Mike) Tress of Wausau; grandchildren: Alexander Clausen (fiancé' Amalie Ludwig) of Appleton, Carl Bartaszewicz of Wausau; Jessica (Jake Kalmon) Bartaszewicz of Medford and great-grandsons Ryker and Marek Kalmon.

Burial will be in Forest Home Cemetery, Rhinelander, in the spring.

The family would like to thank Oak Park place staff and Christina and Danielle from Moments Hospice for their care and concern for Tom and his family.

Brettschneider Trettin-Nickel Funeral Chapel

January 2022

Jeff Pagels received a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management from U.W. at Steven Point in 1970 and a M.S. degree in Public Environmental Administration from U.W. Green Bay in 1986. Before coming to work for the Wisconsin DNR in 1976, he served with VISTA, (Domestic Peace Corps) in Michigan’s U.P. and then was employed by the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development District in Escanaba, MI. He has spent his entire professional career working to improve park and recreation opportunities at the federal, state and most importantly, the local level. He retired in June of 2004 after more than 30 years as Local Government Outreach Team Leader in the DNR’s Northeast Region where he annually carried a workload of almost 200 active grant projects, which ranged from small local playground projects to multi-million dollar harbors of refuge for recreational boaters.

Rehlinger, Christopher P.

Christopher P. Rehlinger, age 50, peacefully passed away after an extended illness on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, surrounded by his family.

He was born on June 24, 1971, in Hartford, Wis., the son of Vern and Jennifer (McDermid)Rehlinger.

After graduating high school from Hartford Union High, Chris attended Mid-State Technical College earning an associate degree in civil engineering. On April 19, 1997, he married Lori Swansby.

Chris was employed with the Dept. of Natural Resources - State of Wisconsin in the engineering department, as a Construction Rep. He retired in September 2020 after 25 years of service.

He was an avid outdoorsman who especially enjoyed fishing and hunting but loved most attending his boys sporting events.

In addition to his wife Lori, Chris is survived by his two sons, Maxwell Fisher Rehlinger (20) and Lucas Mitchell Rehlinger (13); his parents, and many other family and friends.

A memorial Mass will be held at BLESSED TRINITY CATHOLIC PARISH AT ST. PATRICK CHURCH, 521 Fair St, Lodi, at 11 a.m., Saturday, January 15, 2022, with the Rev. Fr. Joseph Baker presiding. To honor Chris's wish of a casual, cheerful atmosphere, a gathering to celebrate his life and to share your favorite memories and stories of him will be held at Log Tavern Pizza, 102 Spring Creek Rd, Lodi, Wis., from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Online condolences may be made at

Hawley, Michael Gary

Michael Gary Hawley 75 of Crivitz passed away at home with his family by his side on December 30, 2021. He was born to the late Charles and Marguerite Hawley on December 22, 1946 in Wausau, WI.

He went to High Falls Grade School and graduated from Crivitz High School in 1964. He attended University of Stevens Point and was on the dean’s list. Mike identified an unknown aquatic insect.

He married the love of his life Marilyn Kasal on June 8, 1968. The couple resided in Marinette. Mike worked for the Department of Natural Resources as a fishery biologist for over 42 years until retiring and moving to High Falls. He enjoyed spending time in the outdoors with his family. He had a lifelong passion for athletics.

He is survived by his loving wife Marilyn, two sons James (Martha) and Chuck Hawley. Three grandchildren Alex, Emma and Ethan Hawley. Brother Niel (Michiko) Steitzer, Dave (Marilyn) Steitzer, Dick Steitzer, Richard Hawley, sister Jeanne Bufe, Beverly Heinrichs and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by brother Charles Hawley, sister Joyce Heart.

The family will greet relatives and friends at the Faith Presbyterian Church in Crivitz on Saturday January 8th from 9-11 AM the Service will be at 11AM with Pastor David Pleuss officiating.

Rhodes-Charapata Funeral Home

Jacobs, John

John “Jake” Jacobs (87) passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 18, 2021. He was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to the late Josephine (nee Dufek) and Bernhardt Jacobs. Jake served in the U.S. Army in a Military Police Company U.S. 1st Division before marrying the love of his life, Sharon. Together, they raised three children: Michael Jacobs, Sandra (Bob) Meller, and Barbara (Eric) Paulsen. Jake adored his grandkids: Megan (Jesse), Kaitlyn, Matt (Trisha), Jacob, and Noah; as well as his one great-grandchild Albie.

Jake was an avid outdoorsman. He worked for the WI DNR for 32 years and loved hunting, fishing, golf, and hockey. His favorite places were the Northwoods, Door County, and the mountains in the western US. In addition to his love of the outdoors, Jake passed on his love of card games, books, and dogs to his family.

Jake is preceded in death by his parents, Aunt Lucy Dufek, and sisters Mary, Joanne, and Barbara. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the WI DNR or the Parks Project in Jake’s honor.

A private family service will be held for John at a later date. You may leave your private condolences for the Jacobs family at The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is handling the arrangements for the family.

Jepsen, Edward Andrew

Ed Jepsen was born in Rockford, Ill., on June 28, 1950, and left planet Earth on Christmas morning 2021, after living with cancer for nearly five years. A born scientist, he will be remembered by family and friends for his kindness and generosity, intellectual curiosity, passionate care for planet Earth, sense of humor, enthusiasm and sincere interest in the well-being of others.

Ed married Kristin Groth in July of 2000, and they brought much love and joy to each other's lives. They shared a love of the outdoors, of plants and trees, wildlife, the arts, various community volunteer activities and travel. And if family or friends joined them? Bonus. They enjoyed a honeymoon to England, a music cruise in the British Virgin Islands, plays and museums in New York City, and traveling to Jepsen family reunions, and treasured exploring our National and State parks.

Ed's spirit needed nature. Wherever he was, he loved to seek out and explore the highest peak. He enjoyed annual winter camping trips and jumping into rivers - with or without clothes on. He was a voracious reader, but if given a choice, he'd always opt for going, doing, exploring and experiencing.

Ed encouraged his brothers, and others, to think about how to make a difference and leave a legacy - to be deliberate and do something that would make a positive difference in the world and with people.

Ed spent most of his adult life in Madison, Wis., where he married his first wife, Karen, and welcomed their children, Andrew and Kira, all while earning a double master's degree in forestry and forestry soils from the University of Wisconsin.

Andrew lives in Westlake Village, Calif., with his wife, Sarah, and their children, Ryan and Audrey. His daughter, Kira, is married to Jameson Brown, and they live in Boston, Mass., with their infant daughter, Celine.

Ed, "Dzia Dzia," was magical with little ones. Even at 71 he was a child at heart, heading right to the floor to play with them. He was never too tired to snuggle and share a book, such as "Who Sank the Boat?", one of Ryan's favorites. Ed loved his 37 years of working for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with a focus on conservation, resource management and stewardship. He was responsible for longitudinal plant studies related to climate change, and traveled extensively in the Midwest to gather data and tend to department projects. He felt lucky to have a career he truly loved, and he instilled the value of that in Andrew and Kira.

Ed and Kristin met as volunteers for Tenney Park and the Yahara River Parkway in Madison, east side parks they both valued and supported. A crowning volunteer effort for Ed was his work with the Friends of Yahara River Parkway, a nonprofit group that advocates for the parkway and adjacent parks. Under his leadership and decades of work, the Yahara Parkway underpass for East Johnson Street was completed. Pedestrians and cyclists no longer had to dodge cars to cross East Johnson Street. Ed was fondly nicknamed "Captain Tenacity" for his Yahara Parkway work.

Trout fishing was a passion of Ed's, as were hiking, canoeing and kayaking. He valued the underpinnings of democracy and supported politicians who promoted policies that would help create a more equitable world. He looked forward to the PBS NewsHour and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and pondered and acted on ways to make our world a better place. He commuted on bicycle, shared a car with Kristin for many years, and was always mindful of sustainable choices.

Ed loved "Weeona," a Central Wisconsin lake cabin surrounded by forest, owned by beloved friends who treated him like family. In typical Ed fashion, he demonstrated his profound appreciation for his frequent visits to Weeona by creating a comprehensive, sustainable forest management plan which provided them with a blueprint to maintain the wild nature of this property for generations to come.

Ed was the second oldest of seven brothers, born to John and Angela "Nelly" Jepsen. For the past 30 years, the brothers and their families have gathered for a family reunion every other year, in various locations across the United States. On each of these reunions, Ed was the scout and planner for the best hikes, mountains to climb, rivers to canoe/kayak and places to fish. For each reunion he planned one especially challenging outdoor activity, or the "bi-annual family death march," as his son Andrew affectionately called it. Ed's nieces and nephews still laugh about the wind-blasted canoe trip in Door County, the marathon canoe trip on the Saugatuck River in Michigan and the trudge up a "fourteener" in Colorado. All had fond memories of these adventures and Ed was revered as "the nature app" for his extensive knowledge of fauna, flora, geology and history on these adventures - and any time in the outdoors. His friends and family will miss that.

It has been said that "people die in the manner in which they lived," and Ed was no exception. The last phase of Ed's life was filled with love, grace, humor and his dedication to the search for truth. "Ed always wanted to know the truth, even when it was hard," Kristin said affectionately. "He would say, 'Then we can make good choices.'"

10 days before he died, Ed's phone was exploding with loving texts and phone calls. He observed, "It seems like people just can't get enough of me." He was right, everyone wishes they had more time with him. Ed will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all the people whose lives he touched.

Ed was preceded in death by his parents, John and Angela (Nelly) Jepsen. He is survived by his wife, Kristin Groth; son, Andrew (Sarah), and their children, Ryan and Audrey; daughter, Kira Brown (Jameson) and their daughter, Celine; his first wife, Karen; and brothers, John (Pat), Alan (Marisa), Stan (Barb), Stephen (Mary Ann), Chris (Tori) and Chuck; as well as their 17 children and two grandchildren. He is also survived by many in Kristin's family and countless friends who also helped him leave this earth feeling well and truly loved.

Memorials to honor Ed are easy: Give a gift of time or money to help heal our environment, promote equity or protect our democracy. Be recklessly kind. Get a vaccine.

A gathering to celebrate Ed will start at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, 2022, at Tenney Park's John Wall Pavilion in Madison, with a program at 7 p.m., and end with a toast to Ed as the sun sets over Lake Mendota at 8:06 p.m. Ed was always on the lookout for a good sunset.

Ball, Joe

Joe Ball passed away on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, at VA Hospice in Madison, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Joe was born on Nov. 22, 1942, in Harrison, Ark., to Leo and Bernice Ball. He graduated from high school in Postville, Iowa, in 1960 where he participated in football and baseball. After graduation he joined the U.S. Navy, serving from 1960 to 1963. In 1963, Joe married his high school sweetheart, Norma McNally. He went on to study Fish & Wildlife Biology at Iowa State University and graduated in 1968. Joe began his career at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in fishery management, then Laboratory Services at the University of Wisconsin, and finally in water quality management coordinating the statewide water quality monitoring program. He retired after 33 years and felt lucky to have had a great job that he loved.

Joe enjoyed picture framing as a hobby, which consisted of custom framing a variety of artwork, photographs and stained glass panels. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, softball, bowling, sailing, skiing and reading. He spent time on prairie restoration and establishing a butterfly habitat at his home. He served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for Blue Mounds Township.

Each spring, Joe would take his sons to Canada for a weeklong camping and fishing trip. He enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and neighbors. Joe always gave 100% in everything he did, serving his country, loving his family, his job, home, property and hobbies, giving us all a lot of wonderful memories.

Joe is survived by his wife, Norma; sons, James (Joan), Jared (Jill) and Jason (Kim); granddaughters, Abigail and Hannah; sister, Mary (Frank) Olson; sisters-in-law, Beverly McNally and Jean McNally; brothers-in-law, Tom and Randy (Janet) McNally; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Bernice Ball; in-laws, Leo and Violet McNally; brothers-in-law, Roland and Ted McNally; and sisters-in-law, Cecelia, Cheryl and Nancy McNally.

Memorials may be made to Mount Horeb Veterans Memorial Fund. Online condolences may be made at .

Gunderson Camacho Mount Horeb
Funeral & Cremation Care
500 N. Eighth St.
(608) 437-5077